Fighting BDS – Forbes Reporter’s Open Letter to NYU

January 15, 2014 16:23

Everything you need to know about fighting BDS and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

Today’s Top BDS Stories:

1. Rock legend Neil Young and hitmaker Justin Timberlake announced plans to perform in Israel in setbacks for the BDS movement. At the same time, a petition to boycott the Red Sea Jazz Festival has drawn nearly 5,000 signatures.

2. Forbes reporter Richard Behar  wrote a long and detailed open letter to the president of New York University, his alma mater, for his weak response to the ASA’s academic boycott of Israel.

President Sexton, you issued a halfhearted statement, but by your words and actions–and inaction–you don’t seem especially upset by the ASA’s boycott of Israel. You need to speak out. You need to act. You need to put daylight between NYU and the ASA and any other group that endorses the academic boycott of Israel and Israelis.

Until you do, I will be very deeply ashamed of my alma mater, and very deeply ashamed of you.

3. Attacks on the ASA continue. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto blogged about his opposition to academic boycotts of Israel.

I disagree with the ASA’s resolution to boycott academic institutions in Israel. The values of inquiry and discourse in American academia – applied within a scholar’s responsibilities as an academic – reflect the foundation and principles of our system of higher education.

Meanwhile, a petition in support of the ASA has picked up 780 signatures.

Other BDS-related content:

* Electronic Intifada lists 10 things the BDS movement supposedly learned from the opposition to academic boycott against Israel. Well, there are at least 10 things I learned about the movement from the article, but #9 on the list and its explanation below deserve special consideration.

9. Criticizing Israel is still “anti-Semitic”

It’s the rejoinder that never dies. Quite beyond its stupidity, this argument is dangerous and logically risible. It alters the fundamental meaning of anti-Semitism from something noxious to something honorable.

Besides ignoring the fact that singling out Israel and only Israel for boycott is the very definition of discrimination, the author of the article is coming dangerously close to embracing anti-Semitism. Is that the direction the movement is heading?

* Yochanan Visser, head of the Dutch NGO Missing Peace, looks at the recent spate of bank divestments in the Netherlands and what Israeli public diplomacy can learn from them.

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